Ecospeak: rhetoric and environmental politics in America by M. Jimmie Killingsworth

By M. Jimmie Killingsworth

This primary book-length research of rhetoric and environmental politics demands an finish to the current oversimplified clash among monetary and evolutionary growth and indicates in its place a continuum embracing the entire variety of human perspectives of nature.The authors use a scientific research of recognized works of nonfiction literature (by such authors as Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Barry Commoner, and Herman Daly) lengthy ignored through literary, rhetorical, and cultural critics, in addition to journalistic studies and tales, and activist polemics, govt records, textbooks, technical literature, and novels to teach that rhetoric based at the confirmed dichotomy offers upward push to ecospeak, which paralyzes rather than informing motion.

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Human ecologyUnited States. 3. United StatesEconomic policy1945Environmental aspects. 4. Political cultureUnited States. 5. RhetoricUnited States. I. Palmer, Jacqueline S. II. Title. 7'056'0973dc2091-12839 ISBN 0-8093-1750-8CIP Portions of chapter 5 appeared in M. Jimmie Killingsworth and Dean Steffens, "Effectiveness in the Environmental Impact Statement: A Study in Public Rhetoric," Written Communication [vol. 6], pp. 15580, copy- right © 1989 by Sage Publications, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications, Inc.

It seems somewhat odd, however, that appeals for government intervention have become so common and so widespread in writings on the environment. Americans are said to value their independence and local control of decision making. Nevertheless, in this matter, our findings coincide with those of Samuel Hays; though much environmentalist rhetoric affirms a "decentralist view," environmental activists ultimately Page 18 seem unable to free themselves from dependence upon a centralized federal authority (Beauty 247).

Ecospeak has produced its own rhetorical analysis of environmental politics, which emerges in the mass media and in ordinary conversation as an oversimplified dichotomy. On one side are the environmentalists, who seek long-term protection of endangered environments regardless of short-term economic costs. On the other side are the developmentalists, who seek short-term economic gain regardless of the long-term environmental costs. This analysis oversimplifies the dilemma by projecting the psychological dilemmathe realization that our system produces both economic prosperity and environmental pollutiononto a social background, dividing two stages of liberal consciousness against one another in a kind of allegory of good guys and bad guys, demanding of the observer a value judgment about the goodness or badness of each side.

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